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Patient FAQs

question 20signWe want to make sure that you receive all of the information that you need to make educated decisions about your eye health. Our optometrists are always available to answer your questions. Please feel free to send us your eye care questions to

Q: Is it true that Dry Eye symptoms seem to be more severe in the winter than in the warmer spring and summer months?

A: Dry eye is usually worse during dry parts of the year. It can be dry almost year-round in the South Bay. Use of heaters or air conditioners tend to create drier air in our indoor environments making our symptoms worse.

Q: Why is it important to bring my kid in for an eye exam?

A: We want to check all children because we want to make sure they have good baseline vision and healthy looking eyes. Children usually will not complain about vision impairment or worsening vision. Sometimes the progression happens so slowly that it is too hard to notice. Or they always had this problem and never knew what clear vision was. Children grow at rapid rates and their eyes can change too. Our job is to make sure they are staying well and can live up to their visual potential.

Q: What are the advantages of daily disposable contact lens wear?

A: The eye doctor world is shifting towards daily disposable wear contact lens for many positive reasons. You get the fresh sensation of a new contact lens every wear instead of letting a contact lens feel less comfortable on your eye. Even with the best cleaning solutions out there, the lens gets dirty and worn out. You do not need to use contact lens solution anymore since you don’t have to clean your lenses. Daily disposable contact lenses are great for all sorts of wearers be it everyday wear or just a night out.

Q: What does it mean if you are legally blind?

A: You are legally blind if your best correction (with glasses or contacts) is less than 20/200 (perfect is 20/20) in your better eye or if your side vision is less than 20 degrees in your better eye (done by visual field testing). Even if you are diagnosed as legally blind, you may still have some usable vision. These patients may also qualify for certain government benefits.

Q: Is it harmful to rub my eyes?

Dr. Lee: Yes. It might seem harmless, but rubbing and touching your eyes are not a good thing. It can cause eye infections or allergies to worsen. Our hands are not always the cleanest and you can possibly scratch your eyes. Rubbing your eyes a lot can even induce astigmatism because you’re changing the shape of your eyes.
Q: Why is it important to wear sunglasses?

Dr. Kavanagh: There are many benefits from wearing sun glasses such as glare reduction while driving and overall outdoor comfort, however the main reason to wear sun glasses is to reduce long-term exposure to UV light. Just as too much sun exposure is bad for the skin and can lead to skin cancer, too much UV exposure will damage the tissues of the eye, resulting in abnormal growths called pinguecula, which look like yellowish bumps on the white parts of the eyes. These bumps often become irritated resulting in permanent redness. Additionally, UV exposure can lead to more severe growths on the cornea, causing visual distortion, premature cataracts, and even possible macular degeneration.

Q: What foods are good for my eyes?

Dr. Lee: Great question! All the foods that are good for the eyes are also good for the whole body. I like to think of these foods as maintaining good eye health instead of improving vision. The nutrients I’ll list below are known to reduce the risk and/or slow down the progression of such eye conditions like cataract and macular degeneration. These are the foods I like for the eyes:

  • Green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale – they contain great antioxidants
  • The ACE Vitamins *Vitamin A – Carrots are a great source due to beta carotene
  • Vitamin C – Many fruits including oranges, apricots, tomatoes, bell peppers
  • Vitamin E – Nuts, beans and oils (like almonds, pistachios and olive oil)
  • Eggs – The yolk is a great source of the good fats and vitamins for the eyes
  • Fatty Fish – They contain those great Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, sardines) that can also help relieve dry eyes

You can find many of these nutrients in oral vitamin form but I prefer the natural way of ingesting them if possible. Happy eyes and happy eating!

Q: Why does my eye twitch?

Dr. Pham: Sometimes your eyelid twitches. It is rarely uncomfortable, but it can be irritating. It can make you wonder if there is really something wrong. Generally, there isn’t. Eyelid twitches (or blepharospasm) are involuntary muscle movements that happen in one or both eyelids. Mild occurrences are common. Researchers have speculated on several causes — including stress, tiredness, eyestrain, caffeine/alcohol, dry eyes, allergies, and nutritional imbalances. What to do?

  • Stress– Reducing the cause of the stress can help make the twitching stop.
  • Tiredness– catching up on your sleep can help.
  • Eye strain– Computer eyestrain from overuse of computers, tablets and smartphones can cause eyestrain, leading to lid twitches. You should consider talking to your eye doctor about special computer glasses.
  • Caffeine and alcohol–If your caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, etc.) and/or alcohol consumption has increased, cutting back is worth a try.
  • Dry eyes– More than half of the older population experiences dry eyes, due to aging. Dry eyes are also very common for people who use computers, take certain medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, etc.), or wear contact lenses. It’s best to see your eye doctor for a dry eye evaluation, because many treatments are now available.
  • Allergies–People with eye allergies can have itching, swelling and watery eyes. When eyes are rubbed, this releases histamine into the lid tissues and the tears. Some evidence indicates that histamine can cause eyelid twitching. Antihistamine eye drops or tablets can help some lid twitches. However, antihistamines can also cause dry eyes. Therefore, it’s best to work with your eye doctor to make sure you are doing the right thing for your eyes.
  • Nutritional imbalances–Some reports indicate lack of certain nutritional substances, such as magnesium, can trigger eyelid spasms. Talking to a family doctor for expert advice rather than randomly buying over-the-counter nutritional products is advised.

See your eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment if the twitching affects half of your entire face, causing the eyelids to shut, or those that will not go away.

Q. Have new contact lens designs been produced lately?

Dr. Pham: Yes, contact lens companies continually improve the lens design and materials. Materials which are more breathable provide for healthier eyes and less risk for infections.

Q: Why do I always see spots floating in front of me?

Dr. Pham: Some floaters are present since birth as part of the eye’s development, and others occur over time. When people reach middle age, the gel-like vitreous begins to liquefy and contract, may form clumps or strands inside the eye. As the vitreous gel pulls away from the back wall of the eye, it causes a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), which is a common cause of floaters.Most spots and floaters in the eye are harmless and merely annoying. Many will fade over time and become less bothersome. People sometimes are interested in surgery to remove floaters, but doctors are willing to perform such surgery only in rare instances.